Wednesday 29, March 2017 by Nabilah Annuar

Bahrain EDB engages partners to develop its fintech ecosystem

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), FinTech incubator and ecosystem builder Singapore Fintech Consortium (SFC) and Dubai-based asset management and advisory firm Trucial Investment Partners have partnered to develop a FinTech (financial technology) ecosystem and regulatory framework for the Kingdom.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, EDB’s Chief Executive said, “Singapore has been an excellent model of FinTech development and we can now benefit from SFC’s expertise as we develop our own hub. We are very excited about the opportunities that FinTech presents in the region and in Bahrain. Yet we know that to realise these opportunities it is vital to get the right ecosystem in place. This partnership will play an important role in helping us to do that.”

The framework role is part of a wider partnership collaboration that aims to transform Bahrain into the region’s FinTech powerhouse.

The agreement includes support in developing related commercial and legal infrastructure required to initiate, nurture and sustain Bahrain’s FinTech ecosystem. It will pave the way for increased interaction between FinTech firms in the Middle East via Bahrain and those in ASEAN via Singapore and will facilitate the entry of Singaporean FinTech companies into the Kingdom.

Other initiatives under consideration include a dedicated FinTech hub, an incubator/accelerator platform and FinTech-focused venture capital.

Gerben Visser, SFC Co-Founder, said it would play a multi-faceted role in the development of the fintech enablement and positioning of Bahrain as a regional fintech hub in the GCC. “This includes assisting in the execution of a range of comprehensive initiatives related to regulation, co-working, incubation and venture capital. We believe the collaboration with a multitude of public and private sector partners are opportune, timely and will contribute to the future-proofing of its financial service centre,” he said.

Maissan Al Maskati, Trucial Investment Partners’ Managing Partner, said that the strategic partnership will introduce innovations that will change the landscape of the GCC’s financial industry through FinTech, which is widely regarded as the sector’s future by enhancing traditional financial services delivery and technological innovations in financial literacy and education, retail banking and investment. “We believe that Bahrain is uniquely positioned to build on its strength in financial services and become a major player in global FinTech. Bahrain offers many factors that would support the development of a thriving FinTech ecosystem, including having a highly-reputed regulator, a young and innovative local population, world-class technological and telecom infrastructure, and a size advantage, like Singapore, that is well suited for start-ups. We have been working closely with the Singapore FinTech Consortium to launch a comprehensive FinTech platform in the Middle East and we have found in Bahrain the ideal partner, stakeholders and geographic location for this venture”

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